With Book Three: Change, Korra is no longer a children's show. There are some very adult themes (such as genocide and loss) going on throughout it, not to mention actual (and pretty horrific) political assassinations shown on screen. Oh, and a shit-ton of prison guards get tossed into active volcanoes for shits and giggles too.
Yeah, Book Two: Spirits was pretty dark, and even Book One: Air had some very questionable material for children under 15, but Change puts them all to shame in this regard. There are no "safe" characters in this series anymore. It honestly shocked me... In a good way.
Okay, that's out of the way, so what's The Legend of Korra ~ Book Three: Change about? It starts off just a few weeks after the events of Book Two, and Republic City is still trying to figure out what it needs to do after all the... Oh, SPOILERS for Book Two, by the way. So it's just a few weeks after the events of Book Two, and Republic City is still trying to figure out what it needs to do after all the spirits that are now "haunting" the world (and especially the very tall buildings that are now being haunted by spirit vines that not even Korra can remove) have come to stay. Korra and the mayor get into a scuffle, and soon he kicks her out of town for being a destructive nuisance.
During all this though it's discovered that by unleashing the Spirits back into the people world, all of a sudden bunches of ordinary folk are finding out that they now have Air-bender abilities! The Air Nomads are back, bro! Yee-haw! Well, that's at least what Aang's son, Tenzin, thinks, and he makes it Korra's next mission to find, gather, and train the new Air-benders in the ways of the vegetarian, tranquil, and meditative Air Nomads of the past. Wacky hijinks then ensue.
Also during all of THIS, 4 crazed super-criminals break out of their White Lotus prisons and combine their uber-bending abilities to.... do something with the Avatar. Something that they tried 13 years previous and were taken down for. These fuckers are hard-goddamn core!
After the GIGANTIC scale of Book Two, Book Three looks positively petite in comparison. Most of this season simply follows Tenzin and Korra as they gather more Air-benders, evade the Earth Kingdom Queen after they royally piss her off, and then crash with Toph's other daughter, Suyin Beifong, for a while in her pretty idyllic Metal-bending society that she built with her husband. Yeah, super criminal Zaheer (voiced by the awesomely rockin' Henry Rollins) and his elite evil force is on Korra and company's trail, and they do their best to abduct the Avatar from time to time, but for the most part there isn't really anything ZOMG epic going on in the show this go-around... Not until the season finale, and even that is not all that grand and mind-bending (see what I did there), and still seems pretty small after the ends of Books One and Two.
I'm not complaining, really. I think Korra needed to step back. I mean, honestly, how do you top the enormity of the earth-shaking impact of Book Two? They had to tone it down a bunch, and the story IS extremely entertaining, and when trouble comes, it is dire (at least specifically for the Avatar and her pals)... It's just not world-ending destructive is all.
Oh man, and as I mentioned earlier, the tone of Korra: Book Three is dark, dark, dark. This is not a show you can just sit your 6 year-old in front of and walk away from. Not that your 6 year-old can't handle it, but they'll need someone to explain shit to them, and to tell them that yeah, sometimes bad people really DO kill people. Pretty horrifically, actually. Kids aren't stupid, and they can handle dark storytelling, but sometimes they do require parents to be there while they do watch bad people do bad things. Really bad things. Things that kind of troubled even ME.
Korra: Book Three is good. It's very good. Some episodes are pretty sparce on the action side, but you don't even really notice at the time, the writing is so good. We find out more about Bolin and Mako's family, we see a bit more of grown-up Toph in some quick flashbacks, we see some old (read, REALLY old) friends, and we get to meet some new, cute, baby Air Bison ("the plural of bison is bison"). I highly recommend checking this thing out, and I hope to GOD that Nickelodeon lets the crew finish up Book Four after shifting Book Three to digital distribution only, after taking it off of basic cable (due to them shifting it from its prime Saturday morning spot to the Friday evening time-slot of death). If we don't get the already promised Book Four and the wrapping up of all things Korra and Team Avatar, there will be rioting.
Yo, G! Henry Rollins is the bad guy?! I'm in. I gots my popcorn and my Colt 45! I'm down to watch that shit!
Then, BAM-OH! Oh shit! They be killin' people straight up, yo! If you don't pay attention you might not notice, dawg, but prison guards get tossed into lava and into bottomless voids by the baddies like they's on sale or some shit!
Then come some straight up murders not in the heat of battle! Ho-man! They never had shit this cool for kiddies when I was a tyke, yo! Goddamn glorious! This be entertainment, bitches!
Then it ended, and I was sad, G. A cartoon made me cry like a 4 year-old girl, yo. Fuck it. *Sniff* No cartoon outta Fireflies should make you feels like that, G.
So I wasn't originally Korra's biggest fan. I thought she had way to big an ego for her own good. I mean, our introduction to lil' tyke Korra in the first episode of the first season was her busting down a door in her parent's igloo declaring "I'm the Avatar! You gotta deal with it!"
But as it turns out, she is a pretty awesome Avatar. My change of heart comes after wrapping up the most recent season of Korra. While her battle at the end of the 2nd season was impressive, it didn't really show her commitment to the world and to balance (though leaving the spirit portals open seemed like an Avatary thing to do).
But, this season of Korra showed our novice Avatar with a bit more of a real, classic Avatar state of mind. I look forward to the next season, and will be quite sad if they truly do only one more [like they originally planned]. So sad that I may have to take up writing fan fiction. [Note from the Rossman: Cupcake does not yet know my stand on fan fiction... Uh oh.]
I love the world of Avatar and think it really could have staying power. I'm talking 10-15 seasons here! Easy! I love that we finally got to see Lord Zuko this time around, but was a bit sad that Toph was definitely less than "mother of the year" material. Even if both of her children turned out well in the end, I wanted her to have a happy family since she wasn't especially happy with her upbringing. But you can't always get exactly what you want. Not all the time at least.
I enjoy Korra a lot, but it isn't really a kid's show any more. Which is good for me, since I am not a child (except at heart), but sad for the kids that have been following the series, since it has lots of real adult topics and plot points now. The show's tone is probably why Nickelodeon can't keep showing Avatar on the air and has taken it straight to online distribution. Which will probably stall or kill the series in the end. Which is also very, very sad.
All and all, Korra is an awesome show that I would recommend to anyone, but if you're looking for a good starter series to introduce an American to an anime-style show, I'd recommend starting them with Aang and Company, and working your way up to Korra. If they don't like this world and its stories, then they prob aren't gonna sign up for anything with a more Japanesey flair like 100% pure anime, and you should probably just stop hanging out with them. I'm only kidding!... Mostly.